det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living is an ongoing networking, knowledge exchange, and experience-sharing artistic research and contemporary art process.
The research takes its inspiration from the publication Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (2018) by Matt Hern and Am Johal, where the authors investigate philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s invocation of Alexandre Kojève’s phrase ‘la dolce vita’ in the context of globally complex issues that relate to an overheating planet.
The ideas of ‘la dolce vita’ describe a common attitude in Spain, Italy, and southern Europe that is claimed to be qualitatively different from the Protestant work ethic of northern European countries. Agamben argues that this attitude describes a wholly different relationship to the future, a recovery of time, a resistance to capitalism, and the preservation of a significant way of living: in short, the capacity to define life as something outside of work.
det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living builds on these gestures, investigating and challenging what ‘the sweetness of life’ represents specifically in the Barents region / the nordic countries and north-west Russia / Sápmi. The process is grounded in the belief that the topic has become an urgent cultural question following the events of 2020 and 2021, when the present societal changes taking place throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have urged a radical re-configuration and reflection of the priorities of life and living.
The process began by opening up the topic through three artworks, as well as through several discursive, performative, and processual responses during The Sweetness of Living Art Symposium under the 2021 edition of the Barents Spektakel festival. The next event will be a series of talks and discussions (available to join online), a new exhibition by Kvae og Bark, and a testlab research week in Kirkenes and Murmansk – all of which will be documented in the archive section of det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living website, as well as across other Pikene channels.
All available information about det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living can be found on the website linked at the top of this page.